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Remember the Rainforest 1



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The drought-ravaged region itself looked to us like a horrible, slow-death mirage. Under these pressing circumstances, we had taken the resolve to risk our collections, just to save our lives. We took the boxes to some very thick bush, in a well-marked place; We left the mules, sick and exhausted, to their fate, and urged the rest of the troop forward as quickly as possible. But even in this extreme danger there was help nearby. Suddenly, we heard the rattle of the fairy godmother of a troop that soon appeared, well organized, consisting of some forty strong mules, which followed the same path, under the direction of robust troopers. The owner of this troop, Mr. Agostinho Gomes, honorable farmer of the Caetite district, was deeply affected by our helplessness. He generously offered many of his mules to carry our already light cargo, gave us a small portion of his supply of corn, and, in short, took care of our journey to the coast, where he left us. We never heard from this excellent man again. God willing we could pay him a priceless benefit, earned with such self-denial! It was only natural for us, in such a critical situation, to give our full attention to our damaged “desert ships”, as well as to the conservation of the shipment; But we could not even think of taking care of fruitful research in that parched forest we were going through. We had to abandon most of the collected minerals, as well as the complete skeleton of a tapir and some alligators.


The orogenic formation upon which we rode was sometimes granite, sometimes shale amphibolite, shale clay and shale diorite.


These genera of stone sometimes appear in the ground, sometimes covered with a deep layer, 10 feet thick, of yellow ocra grains, fine grained, strongly mixed with clay, or fine loam. The fertility of this land, not to mention the great lack of water, is very poor, and only at the cost of great effort can crops be cultivated here. Therefore, the population will grow in a much smaller proportion than in better endowed areas. The farms are very wide, almost all in the grottos and canyons where instead of springs, they are served by waterfalls. The low and very wide grove, tangled with dense hawthorn or surrounded by rows of cacti, revealed the most characteristic features of a thicket of catingas including Imburana (Bursera leptophlocos, Mart.), barrigudas (Chorisia ventricosa, Nees and Mart., and Pourretia tuberculata, M.); the paus-de-rato of Bahian sertanejos (Caesalpinia glandulosa, C. microphylla, M.); the catinga

Bursera leptophlocos

Chorisia ventricosa

Etching 10 Pourretia tuberulata

Caesalpinia brasiliensis

Caesalpinia cocoloca